Tag Archives: Customs Union

Rudd aims at Brexit “bespoke agreement”

 

“We want to have a bespoke agreement. Now we’re not going to surrender before we have that battle,” Home secretary Amber Rudd said to the BBC when asked whether ministers were pursuing what the EU has already ruled out as “having its cake and eating it” – demanding tariff-free access to the EU’s market while controlling immigration.

Amber Rudd is one of several senior Conservative lawmakers supporting Prime Minister Theresa May, under pressure from Brexit hardliners who fear she is diluting the plans for a clean break with the EU.

With reports in the local media suggesting that pro-Brexit ministers are being urged to get ready to replace May, Rudd tried to reduce the deep divisions in government, saying there was more unity than so-called Brexiteers thought.

 

May to inform Parliament on Brexit plans

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will put forward her plan for a Brexit transition period with unchanged access to EU markets when she briefs MPs on Monday about her latest negotiating results with Brussels.

While attending EU Summit in Brussels May secured an agreement to move forward onto the topic of transitional and long-term trading arrangements with the continent.

On Monday she will report back to parliament the results of her Brussels trip, setting out the framework of a time-limited implementation period of two years, designed to facilitate Brexit and provide clarity for businesses and citizens.

The outline of the transition period that May will present is consistent with plans she has previously proposed, and they will be a subject to next stage of negotiation in Brussels.

Tusk for “clarity” in transition period

“This morning, I received the confirmation from our negotiators that sufficient progress has been made. This allows me to present the draft guidelines for the December European Council, which I have just sent to the leaders. My proposals are the following” – said EU Council president Donald Tusk.

“First, we should start negotiating the transition period, so that people and businesses have clarity about their situation. As you know, the UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union. And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions. I propose that during this period, the UK will respect:

  • the whole of EU law, including new law;
  • it will respect budgetary commitments;
  • it will respect judicial oversight;
  • and of course, all the related obligations.

“Clearly, within the transition period following the UK’s withdrawal, EU decision-making will continue among the 27 member states, without the UK.

“All of what I have said seems to be the only reasonable solution, and it is in the interest of all our citizens that it is agreed as soon as possible. This is why I will ask the EU leaders to mandate our negotiator to start these talks immediately.

“Second, we want to begin discussions with the UK in order to explore the British vision of its future relationship with the EU. So far, we have heard a number of various ideas. We need more clarity on how the UK sees our future relations, after it has left the Single Market and Customs Union. I therefore propose to mandate our negotiator to start exploratory talks with our British friends about this problem. On our side, we are ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, but also in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy. For this to happen, the European Council will have to adopt additional guidelines next year.

“While being satisfied with today’s agreement, which is obviously the personal success of Prime Minister Theresa May, let us remember that the most difficult challenge is still ahead. We all know that breaking up is hard. But breaking up and building a new relationship is much harder. Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed. So much time has been devoted to the easier part of the task. And now, to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship, we have de facto less than a year”.

 

Irish border issue unclear until UK-EU trade deal

The UK will not resolve the question of the Irish border after Brexit until it has also agreed the outline of a trade deal with the EU27, the country’s International Trade Minister Liam Fox said.

However, Fox said it would be very difficult to address the issue of the border while the UK relationship with the EU after Brexit remains unclear.

“We don’t want there to be a hard border but the United Kingdom is going to be leaving the customs union and the single market,” he told Sky News.

“We can’t get a final answer to the Irish question until we get an idea of the end state, and until we get into discussions with the European Union on the end state that will be very difficult.”

Ireland attempts to influence UK to stay in Customs Union

“Their real aim is to try to get to a situation where either they try to force the United Kingdom as a whole to stay within the customs union, which is in their interests clearly,” Nigel Dodds, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Belfast North, told Sky News.

“Or, if they fail that, to at least force Northern Ireland to stay within the customs union and the single market, follow the rules of it, something then we’d have no say over, but we’d have to abide by the rules which would then bring about a united Ireland much easier.”

Ireland is attempting to force the UK, or at least Northern Ireland, to remain in the customs union after Brexit as they assess it suits their national interest, the deputy leader of the province’s Nigel Dodds Democratic Unionist Party said on Friday.

Hammond for Brexit 'transitional' deal

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, speaking on the margins of a G20 summit in Hamburg, said his preference was to negotiate a “transitional structure” that takes his country out of the Single market and Customs union “but in the transition phase replicates as much as possible of the existing arrangements”.

According to Hammond his aim would be to minimize the shock to business.

The UK should negotiate a transitional Brexit deal that replicates its membership of EU structures as closely as possible, Hammond continued, acknowledging the UK will not stay in the Single market or Customs union.

Hammond welcomed corporate input into the discussion on managing Brexit, a day after the CBI employers group said Britain should stay in the EU’s Single market as it works out new ties with the bloc beyond Brexit in 2019.

“I’m glad that the business community is exercising a voice in this discussion. I think that is helpful,” he said, adding: “I do not believe it is either legally or politically possible to say in the customs union and in the single market.”

 

MEPs to devote to human rights in Turkey

Brusssels. 20.06.2017. Turkey’s EU accession talks should be suspended if the proposed changes to the constitution go ahead, committee MEPs recommended on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs note in their annual assessment of Turkey’s reform progress that 2016 was a difficult year for Turkey as a result of the war in Syria, the influx of refugees, a string of heinous terror attacks and a coup attempt. They condemn the coup attempt and express their solidarity with the people of Turkey.

“Despite all internal differences, the European Parliament speaks with one voice when it comes to condemning human rights abuses in Turkey. The continuation of the state of emergency has disproportionately negative effects on Turkish society and the arbitrary arrest of thousands of citizens, including parliamentarians and mayors, is of utmost concern” – he rapporteur Kati Piri (S&D, NL) said.

“As the proposed constitutional reform package is not in line with EU membership criteria, the report calls for the formal suspension of the accession talks if the constitutional amendments are implemented unchanged. We expect the government to take the Venice Commission recommendations seriously, as well as the fact that half of the Turkish population voted against it in the referendum” – Piri added.

The resolution recognises the importance of good EU-Turkey relations and maintaining a constructive and open dialogue, which is key for addressing common challenges, such as migration, security or terrorism. MEPs propose upgrading the EU-Turkey Customs Union, by making human rights and fundamental freedoms part of a new agreement.

However, MEPs think that measures taken in response to the coup attempt are disproportionate, regretting the large-scale dismissal of civil servants, the closing of media outlets, the arrest of journalists, judges and human rights defenders, and the closure of schools and universities.

Taking note of the outcome of Turkey’s recent referendum and the expansion of presidential powers, the Foreign Affairs Committee calls on the EU Commission and the EU national governments “to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.”

Committee MEPs are concerned about Turkey’s backsliding in the rule of law, human rights, media freedom, and the fight against corruption. They condemn the repeatedly declared support for the reintroduction of the death penalty by the Turkish President, which would put into question Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe and lead to an immediate end of EU accession talks.

The resolution on Turkey was adopted by 51 votes to 3, with 14 abstentions. The full House is scheduled to vote on it during the next plenary session in Strasbourg on July.

 

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